PMA Spring 2005 Show
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Kodak's logo. Courtesy of Eastman Kodak Co. Click here to visit the Kodak website! Booth Report: Eastman Kodak Co. (UPDATED)
By Dave Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, February 21, 2005 - 01:56 EST)

Without a doubt, one of the biggest stories in the entire photo industry over the last couple of years has been the resurgence of Eastman Kodak Co.

Looking at the company's heavy dependence on its film business, and what many viewed as a moribund, ingrown corporate culture, many analysts had largely written the company off as a serious player in the rapidly evolving world of consumer imaging.

Several years ago though, Kodak took a hard look not only at where the market was going, but where it had been, and who exactly it was who had traditionally taken the majority of pictures. Not surprisingly, for decades, the heart and soul of the photo business wasn't the technically-fluent geek crowd, but rather the group who Kodak identified as the "proactive sharers," very often the mom of a family. Focusing on this group, Kodak developed a digital imaging strategy centered around ease of use, ease of sharing, good photo quality, and low price. In the process, they consciously moved away from the "high end" early-adopter crowd, to better hone their focus on the Proactive Sharers that would constitute the true mass market for digital cameras when it finally arrived.

Beyond the cameras themselves, Kodak worked hard to make it as easy as possible for people to share their digital photos once they'd taken them. This led not only to the development of some of the best consumer-level digital photo software on the market (Kodak's EasyShare software), but a line of dead-easy snapshot printers, and the nearly ubiquitous Kodak Picture Maker kiosks found in photo, drug, and thrift stores (and myriad other locations) all across the world.

Now, several years after what appeared at the time to be a draconian decision to cut short their "high end" aspirations, the wisdom of Kodak's long-term plan has finally become apparent. As of the end of last year (2004), they had not only achieved the number one position in digital camera sales, but the number one positions in snapshot photo printers, kiosks, and online photo sharing. (The raw numbers on this last area are particularly impressive: Kodak's EasyShare Gallery online service - formerly known as Ofoto - now has 20 million registered users, and over one billion images online.) As if all the above weren't enough, two of their digital camera models were recently named by J. D. Powers and Associates as having the highest consumer satisfaction ratings in the $200-299 and $300-399 price categories, smack in the middle of the mass-market "sweet spot" for pricing.

At PMA, Kodak was showing somewhat more functional versions of their very interesting EasyShare One WiFi-enabled photo sharing device (to call it a mere camera would miss most of its capabilities), a rebadged version of their very popular long-zoom DX7590 camera (now appearing as the Z7590, the first of what will likely be a broad line of long-zoom cameras), as well as a rock-bottom entry-level model, the new C300, a 3 megapixel fixed focal-length model at the breakthrough price (for an EasyShare camera) of $99.

While we didn't focus on them, Kodak had a lot of other technologies on display, including large-format printing, and some impressively sharp and colorful looking output from their all-digital "NexPress" high-volume on-demand color printing system.

All in all, the new Kodak on view at PMA 2005 is a newly resurgent company, one that to all appearances is making a successful transition from the old world of film-based consumables to the new era of electronic image capture, sharing, and output. Very impressive.

Kodak Booth
 Booth shot  Booth shot
 Booth shot  Booth shot
 Booth shot  Booth shot
Copyright 2005 by The Imaging Resource. All Rights Reserved.

Kodak Products
EasyShare C300
Kodak EasyShare C300
3 .0 Megapixels
Fixed focus, fixed focal length lens
37mm (35mm equivalent)
Specs
C300 shot at 1:2 with [A]
C300 shot at 2:1 with [A] C300 shot at 2:2 with [A]
EasyShare C340
Kodak EasyShare C340
5.0 Megapixels
3.0x Zoom
34 - 102mm (35mm equivalent)
C340 shot at 3:2 with [B]
C340 shot at 4:1 with [B] C340 shot at 4:2 with [B]
EasyShare-One
Kodak EasyShare-One
4 .0 Megapixels
3.0x Zoom
36 - 108mm (35mm equivalent)
Optional WiFi transfer of images
EasyShare.One shot at 5:2 with [C]
EasyShare.One shot at 6:1 with [C] EasyShare.One shot at 6:2 with [C]
EasyShare.One shot at 7:1 with [C] EasyShare.One shot at 7:2 with [C]
Z730
Kodak EasyShare Z730
5.0 Megapixels
4.0x Zoom
33 - 132mm (35mm equivalent)
Specs
Z730 shot at 8:2 with [D]
Z730 shot at 9:1 with [D] Z730 shot at 9:2 with [D]
Z7590
Kodak EasyShare Z7590
5.0 Megapixels
10.0x Zoom
38 - 380mm (35mm equivalent)
Specs
Z7590 shot at 10:2 with [E]
Z7590 shot at 11:1 with [E] Z7590 shot at 11:2 with [E]
NexPress 2100 Color Press
NexPress 2100 Color Press
600dpi dry electrophotography
2100 A4 / 1050 A3 4/4 sheets per hour
4200 A4 / 2100 A3 4/0 sheets per hour
 NexPress.Color.Press shot at 12:2 with [F]
 NexPress.Color.Press shot at 13:1 with [F]  NexPress.Color.Press shot at 13:2 with [F]
ENCAD NovaJet 1000i Wide-Format Inkjet
ENCAD NovaJet 1000i Wide-Format Inkjet
Available in 42" and 60" models
Up to 1200 x 600 dpi
Speeds of 30 - 220 sfph at 600 dpi (60" model)
Uses Quantum Ink Dye / Pigment ink sets
 Novajet.poster.Printer shot at 14:2 with [G]
RP 30 Laser Printer
RP 30 Laser Printer
400 dpi resolution
Up to 12" x 18" paper size
Speeds of 500pph (10" x 8") or 900 pph (5" x 7")
 RP.30.Lab.Printer shot at 15:2 with [H]
 RP.30.Lab.Printer shot at 16:1 with [H]  RP.30.Lab.Printer shot at 16:2 with [H]
6850 / 9810 Photo Printers

Photo Printer 6850
300dpi dye sublimation
6" x 8" in 15 sec.; 4" x 6" in 8 sec.

9810 Digital Photo Printer
300dpi thermal dye transfer
8" x 10" in 45 sec.; 39 sec. for subsequent prints

 G850.Pro.Dye.Sub.Printer shot at 17:2 with [I]
Copyright 2005 by The Imaging Resource. All Rights Reserved.

Related Coverage

PMA:

Pre-PMA:

UPDATED 2005-02-25 14:51ET: Two incorrect links to the camera database that got accidentally copied and pasted have been removed.

UPDATED 2005-02-25 17:17ET: Numerous products, plus booth and product photos added.

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Top 3 photos this month win:

1 $300 Adorama Gift Certificate

2 $200 Adorama Gift Certificate

3 $100 Adorama Gift Certificate